2012 New Orleans Saints Training Camp: Veterans on the Bubble
With training camp coming up shortly, it's time to take a look at which veterans for the New Orleans Saints could be on the roster bubble come cut days in August.
Every offseason, teams bring in an infusion of young talent either through the draft or through the undrafted free-agency period. Those young players combined with either poor play or injuries will make just about any veteran sit on the bubble.
These competitive factors can only make a team better and guarantees that the Saints will get the best performance out of certain group of players who will be looking behind them.
Scott Shanle has played himself off this list for the time being with a very strong offseason. Despite the team's best efforts, free-agent signings or draftees, Shanle has constantly carved out a place for himself on this team.
Let's take a look at what else is left out there on that bubble.
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After the success of Marques Colston in the seventh round of the 2006 draft, the Saints traded a future sixth-rounder to acquire Adrian Arrington, a wide receiver from Michigan, in the seventh round in 2008.
Like Colston, Arrington was a big, physical receiver who was more of the possession receiver to Mario Manningham's main attraction during their time in Ann Arbor. Arrington was seen as a guy who had unlimited potential, but just hasn't lived up to any of that.
The only things that Arrington has been consistent with in his career are injuries and sub-par play. He's only left flashes on the field, and this could be his last chance to make an impact on this team with the loss of Robert Meacherm to the Chargers.
He has plenty of competition from Joe Morgan and fourth-round pick Nick Toon this offseason, so I'd say he's bubble could burst in a couple of months.
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The picture above was the only "active" picture I could find on Getty Images. Now, that might sum up Brown's Saints career right there: always down, either by injuries or terrible play.
Brown was a projected first-round pick coming out of USC, but dropped down to the end of the second round, where the Saints scooped him up. New Orleans thought it was getting a steal, but after a few years, it seems like the other 31 teams were right to pass on him.
Coming into last season, Brown was giving the opportunity to win the starting right tackle position with the retirement of longtime Saint Jon Stinchcomb. He was beaten out by veteran Zach Strief before the season started. Even after Strief was injured for a couple of games, Brown still had his usual sub-par play before ending up on injured reserve.
Still, this offseason, he has been passed up already by a seventh-round pick, Marcel Jones, on the depth chart. It's time to cut the dead weight and give up on this bust.
Like Brown, Matt Tennant was given the opportunity to start when the team's starter left in free agency. Tennant's poor play in training camp prompted the team to sign Olin Kreutz.
After Kreutz's sudden retirement, Tennant still lost out to Brian de la Puente, a practice squad "lifer" who was a great surprise last year. De la Puente never looked back, and with two stalwarts at guard (Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs), the interior starters are set.
That makes Tennant, a player the Saints traded a future fourth-rounder to select him, a primary backup at either guard position in addition to his natural center slot. That backup position could come into question with cheaper alternatives, sixth-round pick Andrew Tiller, Eric Olsen and Fenuki Tuopu, brought in to add quality depth behind the starters.
He needs a great postseason for the team to forget about his regrettable 2011 campaign, or he might be looking for a new place to play.
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With the influx of players at the outside linebacker position, it could have been easier to pick just about any of the veterans that have been knocked down the depth chart.
I chose Will Herring because his contract and lack of impact is not what the Saints expected when they chose to pay him close to $1.4 million per year for three years. He was one of the players brought in to "replace" Shanle, but can't seem to shake Scotty from the starter's unit.
Herring will surely be in a backup role this season, and unless he restructures that contract, he could be looking at the unemployment line. Especially when his bonus amount will push his 2012 salary to nearly $2 million. That's kind of expensive for a special teams player.
Amaya might be the only one on this list that will be impacted on this list by undrafted rookie free agents.
He only has two years of experience under his belt, but played extensively last season on special teams and towards the end of blowouts. His play has been average, but it can stand to be upgraded. And competition is going to be the only way to do that without HGH.
Jerico Nelson, a Destrehan, La. native, and Jose Gumbs have a lot of promise coming into this defense despite not being drafted.
Nelson in particular has received praise from the media and coaches for his play so far this offseason. The former Razorback is a bit undersized at 5'9" 203 lbs., but plays with a lot of heart and will be a hard out come cutting time in August.